A woman standing in the open sliding doorway of a white campervan parked during sunset

31 Thoughtful Campervan Gifts | 2024 Van Life Gift Guide

Our list of campervan gift ideas is all the inspiration you'll need. We rounded up the best gifts for vanlife and covered everything from practical to luxurious.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you use them, we earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you.

You know someone living the nomadic lifestyle, on the road in their camper, and you're trying to decide on the best gifts for vanlife. We've been on the road full time in our van for close to a year, so we have some personal and practical insight into what would make a great gift for a campervan owner.

Our suggestions are grouped into a few different categories. We'll give you some great ideas for the minimalist vanlifer which, actually, is all of us. Then we have practical vanlife gift ideas that will help take away some stress and make for a safer time on the road. Third, we'll cover gifts to add comfort and make any van feel more like a home. And lastly, we're going over outdoor related gift ideas.

Minimalist Gifts for Campervan Owners

It goes without saying that anyone who's living in a van has adopted a minimalist lifestyle. Some of the most thoughtful gifts to give are the ones that acknowledge their limited space and a desire to keep life clutter free.

Sometimes giving less, as in quality over quantity, is actually giving more. But minimalist gifting certainly doesn't have to be boring or uninspired. Here are some space saving ideas that any vanlifer will appreciate.

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Compact kitchen items

Coffee maker | The AeroPress Go comes with everything needed to brew American coffee or espresso drinks, all in a compact case that doubles as a mug. Loved one isn't a coffee drinker? Opt instead for a streamlined tea infuser like this one from OXO.

The AeroPress Go coffee maker on display with its accessories leaning against it

Cocktail accessories | Keeping a fully stocked bar is.. challenging.. in a campervan. Enter The Cocktail Box Co. Each of their kits includes ingredients for a classic drink, plus a bartender's spoon, muddler, picks, and a cocktail napkin. They're small enough to fit in a back pocket, so they won't be stealing any valuable cabinet space.

These pair especially well with the Stanley Cocktail Shaker set. Two stainless steel glasses that'll hold up under even the most adventurous conditions, a strainer, jigger, and juicer that all nest neatly into the shaker cup.

A pocket sized cocktail kit and its ingredients out on display on a white background

Collapsible items | These days it seems you can find just about any kitchen accessory in a collapsible silicone version. Just a few of the ones we own and find indispensable: a mixing bowl, colander (that doubles as a steamer basket), and funnel.

A woman holding a collapsible mixing bowl full of pasta

Ninja Foodi | Our all time favorite kitchen gadget. At first glance this doesn't seem like a compact option. But considering this multi-talented appliance can sauté, steam, air fry, slow cook, and bake it's been worth every inch that it takes up, which really isn't a lot. We easily tuck this thing away in our bottom cabinet, but it's used every single day to cook our favorite meals.

A woman prepares a meal in a campervan with a Ninja Foodi sitting on the counter next to her

Packing Cubes

Sure, clothes can be randomly stuffed into a drawer or cabinet in an inefficient and unorganized fashion. It's the way one of us goes through life (*cough* Laura *cough*). But packing cubes keep everything neat and tidy. The type Joren recommends have a compression zipper to further maximize space.

Looking down on an open set of packing cubes filled with clothes

Scrubba Wash Bag

The two certainties of laundry are that it will never end and that one particular item won't be clean the moment you really need it. Sometimes you just need to do a quick wash or a small load. The Scrubba wash bag rolls up and easily packs away, but really comes through in a pinch. Add water and a bit of detergent, then seal it up. The inside is textured so you can give everything a good scrub, then rinse.

Speaking of detergent, another space saving gift idea for life on the road are these laundry sheets that are way more packable than a traditional bottle of detergent and more eco-friendly.

Handheld Vacuum

Trust us, the campervan owner in your life is tired of sweeping up the floor by hand every single day. We actually spent our first few months on the road cleaning with a tiny little broom and dust pan. Then we bought this rechargeable handheld vacuum and our lives instantly improved.

A man's hand holding a small portable vacuum to clean the floorboard of a vehicle

Audiobook Subscription

During long drives it helps to have something to keep your mind focused. Or something to drown out your partner's rendition of popular showtunes. An Audible subscription is a great gift for any vanlifer. The choice of plans ranges from 1 month up to 12 months and will let them browse the entire collection of titles. Did you know you can also give them a specific audiobook? If you have one in mind, just find it in Audible's collection and select the 'give as a gift' option.

Kindle/E-Reader

These make a perfect gift for any bibliophile living in a van. There's an undeniable appeal to settling in and holding a physical book, but in a campervan that's just not always practical. The extra weight of books, not to mention the limited room in a van, sometimes demands an alternative. Give the gift of an e-reader like the Kindle Paperwhite and they won't have to leave any beloved stories behind.

The front and back of a Kindle Paperwhite e-reader displaying the first page of a book

Portable projector

We can't say with absolute certainty that this is the best gift on this list. But this is probably the best gift on this list. The compact, rechargeable projectors on the market these days are just so cool. They pack a ton of value into a small space. We own the Kodak 350, which is the middle-of-the-road model of their Luma series.

It holds a charge long enough for us to watch a full movie in our van and we can either plug it directly into one of our devices or just connect to our WiFi hotspot and stream directly on any app we want, Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube, you name it. The image quality is great for its size and we've connected it to our Bluetooth speaker to have better audio. The ability to thread it onto a tripod means you could even take it outside your campervan to watch a movie under the stars.

A small digital projector powered on and sitting on a countertop

Practical Gifts for Van Life

The best campervan gift might be something that says "stay safe out there." While they may not be the most unique gifts, there are certain essential items that every owner ought to have on the road.

Air pump

There are tons of options out there for good air pumps. A few factors to keep in mind along with price are size, durability, power, and portability. You want to find a 'handheld' tire inflator, rather than the 'console' variety, which are larger and bulkier, meant for everyday tasks around the house. This 12v pump has a digital display, built in LED light, and boasts a pretty impressive inflation time.

A small portable air pump on display on a white background

Jump pack

Ever been somewhere and couldn't get your car to start? Yup, so have we. Ever been parked in a remote location with a campervan and couldn't turn over the engine? Jumper cables probably aren't going to do much good in a situation like that. That's why a battery jump pack makes a great campervan gift.

One of our chief complaints about portable jump packs is their cable length. Most won't work on our Ford Transit because they're too short. If the campervan owner you're buying for has a Transit or Sprinter we recommend the Clore Automotive Jump-N-Carry because of the longer cable length.

Ram Promaster owners, for example, shouldn't need the extra length, so you can save some money and still get a top of the line jump pack from NOCO.

A small handheld jump pack with alligator clip cables neatly displayed in front of it

Emergency gear

Every van owner wants to camp on the beach, drive up snowy mountain passes, and take the road less traveled. That's why we got into vanlife in the first place. But that thirst for adventure comes with the added risk of getting stuck. A few of the items we keep in the van, just in case we ever push the limits a bit too far:

Recovery boards | Hands down the most well known brand in this category is MAXTRAX, but they come with quite a sticker shock. Bunker Industries is an affordable option that still maintains an excellent customer rating.  

Tire deflator kit | One of the most crucial factors in getting a van un-stuck is airing down the tires. A quality deflator kit makes the process a lot simpler. The valves can be preset to the desired PSI and will automatically lower tire pressure, providing more traction.

Collapsible shovel | This is another vital tool to have on hand, whether you're trying to get out of sand or snow. This collapsible model saves space and it also comes in handy around camp in general.

A set of black textured recovery boards with orange straps displayed side by side

Snow chains

We don't have personal experience with snow chains, since we tend to chase warmer weather and have so far relied on our all-terrain tires. These chains by König have excellent reviews though and sport a self-centering and self-tensioning system, plus colored coded connection points to make installation easier.

Snow chains attached to a tire on a white backdrop

Dash cam

Another practical campervan gift idea is a dash cam. Once again, the market is flooded with so many models that claim to be the best. We chose the Rove R2 4K, mainly for its video quality, especially in low light conditions. With it mounted on our windshield we have some extra peace of mind that if someone else were to cause an accident we'd have some video to protect our investment.

Additionally, it can even be rotated around 180 degrees to point inside the van if we leave it unattended for long periods and has features such as motion detection and an impact sensor to trigger recordings.

The backlit screen of a small dashcam looking out the windshield onto a forested road

Gift Card and Membership Ideas

Perhaps you need to mail something to the campervan owner in your life and want to keep it simple. Or maybe they'd just appreciate the practicality of a gift card because it saves them money on something they were already going to purchase. Here are some of our favorite campervan gift card ideas to keep things practical.

Fuel, grocery, or restaurants | Fuel can be one of the biggest financial burdens of the lifestyle and it doesn't seem to be getting any better. It may not feel like a fun gift, but they'll be grateful for you the next time they fill up at the gas pump. Likewise, grocery store gift cards ease a common expense and restaurants take the pressure off from having to cook and handwash dishes all the time.

Hardware stores | Things break and upgrades are needed every so often. Every campervan owner would find this one useful at some point. We practically handed over our paychecks to the big box hardware stores during our van build and we still occasionally find ourselves stopping by for an item or two.

AAA or Good Sam membership | Keeping with the safety theme, a roadside assistance membership is something every vanlifer should have in their back pocket. Check with your (or their) local AAA auto club to verify that a campervan/RV will be covered in an emergency, since it can vary.

Good Sam has RV-specific roadside assistance with several coverage options. Either membership could help them out of a jam in the event of a flat tire, breakdown, or dead battery.

Harvest Hosts | An annual membership with Harvest Hosts gets you access to overnight parking at more than 4,000 locations nationwide, including wineries, farms, and other private businesses. Instead of charging costly campground fees, hosts offer a spot for the night in exchange for a reasonable purchase ($20 is suggested) to help support them. We've used our membership numerous times, especially on the East Coast, where free public land is more limited. You can use our affiliate link to save 15% off a Harvest Hosts membership.

Gift Ideas for Comfort on the Road

Know a campervan owner who loves to feel comfortable and cozy? Give the gift of hominess with something from this list.

Warm & cozy items

Especially if you prefer the mountains and Northern latitudes, there can never be enough blankets or sweaters in a van. We've been dying to try out one of these Rumpl puffy blankets that's made from the same materials as sleeping bags. This 12v heated blanket would also be fantastic on a chilly autumn or winter night.

A decorative heated blanket laid out flat with a control switch

Another great gift for someone who lives in their campervan during colder months of the year is fleece lined pants or insulated slippers. Some extra layers to keep them warm from head to toe will definitely enhance the coziness of their van.

For an added dose of hygge, gift one of these National Park Collection candles from Good & Well Supply Co. They're made from a clean burning, smoke free wax blend that won't leave any soot inside the van. Oh, and they all smell amazing.

A candle in a metal tin with a decorative label that says 'Grand Teton'

Cliq chairs

One of the best gifts we've ever gotten are our Cliq chairs. These things were made for van life. They fold up to the size of a large water bottle and weigh less than 4 pounds. We've taken them all over the country with us and popped them out to relax and enjoy the views in too many places to count. When we're done, they tuck away in a little cubby right next to our sliding door.

Travel size games

Compact games make awesome gifts for campervan friends. There are plenty of popular full size games that have been scaled down into travel size and countless other originals that make fun and unique van gifts. Some of our favorites are mancala, cribbage, and this National Parks Yahtzee set.

The exterior box of National Park Yahtzee

Journal

If you know a traveling nomad who's always sharing their stories from far and wide then a journal could be a great gift. Encourage them to write down their most memorable experiences of life on the road. Journaling also doesn't just have to be about saving stories. Collecting your thoughts and putting them down on paper has plenty of well documented positive effects.

The front cover of a blue travel journal

Personalized items

This is a rather open-ended suggestion, but it's an opportunity to think about what the particular person in your life would truly appreciate and tailor it to them. Personalized gifts can add a special touch and help create a connection for someone who's frequently out on the road.

On the other hand, some personalized gifts can come across as unpractical or kitschy. Maybe your loved one likes that, maybe they don't.

We have a set of enamel camping mugs that we received as a gift. They have our Instagram handle on them and a van that looks exactly like ours. We absolutely love them.

Some other ideas for inspiration are a small personalized wall print, a keychain, or a piece of travel or outdoors themed jewelry.

Looking over a woman's shoulder as she holds a personalized mug in front of a campfire

Airbnb or Hotel Gift Cards

A gift card for a hotel or rental property stay is something any van lifer will love to keep in their back pocket. Even though we've been living in our van full time for about a year, we still find ourselves booking the occasional hotel stay. Let's face it, there isn't a ton of space in a van. Sometimes it feels nice to take a night or two and stretch out a little.

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Outdoorsy Campervan Gift Ideas

Campervan lovers are almost universally outdoor enthusiasts. That opens up a huge list of gift options, depending on what particular adventures they like, or would like, to get into. Keeping the "quality over quantity" mantra in mind, there are still practically limitless choices, but here are a few items that we find handy on the road and the trail.

Hammock

There are some really great and simple hammock options out there. Sometimes all you want is to park the van among some trees and hang out, literally.

If the vanlifer you're shopping for is an avid overnight backpacker, consider a system like the ENO JungleLink that's made for the backcountry. It includes a hammock with an optional bug net, hanging straps, and a rain tarp. It's perfect for camping out, but can just as easily be used for a casual afternoon nap.

A hammock with a built in bug net on display on a white background

Two Way Radios

A pair of extremely rugged and dependable radios are not only excellent to have out in the wilderness, they're also a practical gift idea for someone living in a van. Oftentimes you might need to communicate with someone outside the vehicle. Say, someone you're caravanning with, or someone who's helping you navigate through a tight space. Cell phone signal isn't always available or as convenient as a two-way connection.

We bought these Rocky Talkies earlier this year and they've already come in handy on multiple occasions. We carry them in our packs on every hike so we have a way to stay in touch if we somehow got separated and there's also a chance we could radio out for help if needed.

Close up on a man wearing a backpack with a handheld radio attached to the shoulder strap

Satellite Messenger

If you'd like to take it up a notch and ensure your loved one has a way of communicating with you, even when out in the middle of nowhere without cell phone signal, consider giving them the gift of a satellite messenger. There are quite a few options on the market, ranging from about $149 for the SPOT Gen4, up into the hundreds for something like the feature rich, two-way Garmin inReach Mini 2.

The more basic models will allow them to broadcast out their GPS location to emergency responders with an SOS signal, send pre-programmed messages, and enable cloud-based mapping so you can track their progress.

The advanced messengers add the ability to send and receive text messages without cell signal. The inReach can even be used as a navigational tool, guiding the user back to their starting point along the same route they took to get there.

A Garmin inReach GPS device on display on a white background

Trekking poles

These trekking poles get the job done on the trail. We jokingly refer to them as our "four wheel drive". But they also collapse down and fold into multiple sections to take up minimal space, making them a perfect campervan gift for the active hiker you know.

Close up on a woman holding trekking poles on a scenic trail during the fall

Park Passes or Gift Cards

One of our favorite gifts we've received since starting vanlife is our America the Beautiful Pass, aka the US National Park Pass. You'll be giving a year of access to not only national parks, but also covering day use fees at a huge number of federally managed sites, including national forests.

In our travels across the country we've saved a ton of money by using our pass everywhere we go, so this is a gift that will go a long way if you know someone who plans to visit a number of national parks. If you're not sure when they'll begin using it and don't want to start the annual pass early, make sure you purchase an REI gift card, which they can exchange for the pass whenever they're ready.

Canada has a similar pass that covers one year of entry into national parks, conservation areas, and national historic sites. This one would make a great gift for a loved one who plans to take their van up north.

There are other outdoor passes, including Washington's Discovery Pass or the Northwest Forest Pass, to name a few. With a little digging on where they plan to travel you could end up with a pretty unique campervan gift idea.

When in doubt, just go with an REI gift card. They can be used to buy outdoor access passes or, they could just go toward that next piece of premium camping gear someone has their eye on.

Summary

We know it can be difficult searching for the perfect gift. Hopefully this round up of vanlife gift ideas has been helpful in checking someone off your list or, at least, sparking some inspiration. There are a wide variety of lifestyles out there among nomads, but as you're considering the best gifts you could give a van owner, just remember to think in a minimalist mindset.

Consider what you could give that would improve the comfort or safety of their life on the road and, don't forget, all of us vanlifers love the outdoors, so you'll never go wrong there.

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